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Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

John 19:30
"It Is Finished!"

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“It is finished!” (John 19:30). "
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

Today is "Good Friday" a day when we especially remember the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Christians commemorate in various ways depending on their traditions and many will gather today all over the world to essentially declare, "I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins." There is so much to consider about what happened on this day but let us just consider three words.

It is finished, it is finished
The Son of Man succeeding where I failed
The wrath of God now satisfied
In Jesus, my Emmanuel

John 19:30A reader sent us this note: "As I ponder what I am thankful for, I find many things, yet when I ask myself, what one thing am I most thankful for; three words from the Scripture tell it all. Three words that God gave us that have eternal meaning: "It is finished."

Oswald Chambers wrote, "The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!”. That is the final word in the redemption of humankind."

"It is finished! Jesus’ final word (tetelestai in the ancient Greek) is the cry of a winner. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian peace and faith, paying in full the debt we righteously owe to God."  (David Guzik)

1 Peter 3:18In the second daily text, Peter, who at Christ's death was at best a distant eyewitness to the Cross writes:

"For Christ also died for sins once for all"
. Consider the phrase "once for all" (most prominent in the book of Hebrews). It speaks of finality and completion. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross it is very significant that He cried out "It is finished". Sin's price had been paid. The redemptive plan had been fulfilled. The sacrifice was wholly adequate.

"The just for the unjust
so that He might bring us to God."  Henry Bosch tells the following story:

A missionary was speaking to a remote tribe of people who had never heard about the life and ministry of Jesus. Seated in the front row, listening intently to all the missionary had to say, was the chief of the tribe.

As the story of Jesus came to its climax and the chief heard how Christ was cruelly crucified, he could restrain himself no longer. He jumped up and cried, "Stop! Take Him down from the cross! I belong there, not Him!" This chief had grasped the meaning of the gospel; he understood that he was a sinner, and that Christ was the sinless One that the just was dying for the unjust.

As you picture in your mind the Son of God hanging on the cross in agony, with blood flowing from His wounds, can you say from your heart, "I belong there!" Then go one step further and put your trust in Him as your Savior, so that you can say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). Jesus took our place and died in our stead. Because He bore our sins, He has opened the way for us to be brought into fellowship with the Father. If you identify yourself with Christ and believe that He died for you, God will identify you with Christ and give you His righteousness. Can you say, "I belong there!"  

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ took our place. We deserved to die in our sins, but Christ died for our sins!

"That He might bring us to God",  the wording is so important in this phrase. Christ has brought us to God.  He led the captives out. The earnest believer worships in grateful acknowledgment for what God has done. It's a "done deal" and we can "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22).  Praise the Lord, It is finished! All peoples everywhere may now have salvation through faith in Christ, the forgiveness of sins!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are stirred as we consider the extent of Your love in sending Jesus to die for our sins. As He wept over Jerusalem we see His tender humanity in relation to our sin problem. How grateful we are that Jesus yielded Himself fully to be used as a sin sacrifice, once for all, not just for Jerusalem but for peoples of every tribe and language; for all generations prior to His sacrificial death and for all who follow. We thank You, God, that You made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness that You require in order that we might have forgiveness of sins and become joint heirs with Jesus. We walk in newness of life, in the power of the resurrected Christ, with the living hope of eternal life in heaven. Praise You, Father, for this finished work of Christ, that redeems our soul, once and for all! Amen.

Several scenes taken at our service last night

More children participated than in the past. It was especially meaningful as they entered in and experienced what the disciples experienced when Jesus washed their feet. Since Ester took the photos we only have the women and girls photos.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
The ladies singing as a mother tenderly washes her daughter's feet.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
Another adult washing the feet of one of the youngest among us.

Granddaughter washing her grandmother's feet.

Another young lady getting her feet washed while her mother and sister looks on.

The men and boys were in another room for their footwashing. We had two young boys in our group along with their dads. After we were finished we spontaneously sang several songs concerning Christ and the Cross. The men suggested songs as well as the little boys. One four year old requested, "Mary had a little Lamb". The group kindly smiled as His grandpa thoughtfully brought in a spiritual lesson about the fact that Mary (Christ's mother) did have a little Lamb, and then we proceeded to sing the time-old nursery rhyme.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
We had a meditation shared by Jesse, at 91 years of age. His wife and daughter joined him for a hymn they sang acappella. The Dourtes have six children and for many years, when the children were young, they sang together as a family - all of them greatly gifted musically and dedicated to the Lord.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It Is Finished"  Video  Jimmy Needham  A song I had never heard prior to this morning with tremendous lyrics.

It is finished, It is finished
The beauty of the double meaning phrase
He ceased from His labor and so have I
Now resting only in His grace

"It Is Finished"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  

"It Is Finished"  Video  Scott Wesley Brown

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us"   Video  Selah

"The Power of the Cross"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Behold the man upon a cross.
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

"Blessed Redeemer"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Wounded For Me"  Video  

"Wounded for Me"   Video  

Gary BauerFinally today: As we were wrapping up our message I received an email from Gary Bauer, a strong contender for traditional values whom we appreciate:

"There is plenty of disheartening and worrisome news. On this day that Christ carried his cross through the streets of Jerusalem, 147 Christians are being mourned in Kenya. They were brutally murdered because they believed in Him.

Iran is on the way to a nuclear bomb.

Two women were arrested in New York who allegedly believed they could only please their god by killing us.

Here at home Judeo-Christian values continue to be pushed out of the public square.

But today we focus on the perfect Lamb.

It is a good time to reflect on Good Friday, the truth of Scripture and exactly what it is that we as Christians are celebrating! (It's not chocolate bunnies or marshmallow chicks.)

Christmas tends to overshadow most holidays, but ultimately, it is not a birthday that we celebrate -- it is the resurrection. It is Easter that makes us Christians!

If Christ had not risen from the grave, He would have been forgotten as a common rabble-rouser whose birthday would have no significance.

Today, on Good Friday, we think about the Cross and the sacrifice paid for our sins; the amazing love that took our place; and the grace we have been given.

Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While some worship a god who commands men to die (really kill) for him, we worship a loving God who gave His son to die for us. Thank God for the cross and the empty tomb!

With Christ's resurrection, we have confidence. We have confidence in a caring Creator, rather than the chaos of the cosmos. We have confidence in a glorious future, rather than the finality of the grave. It is this confidence that sustains us in times of trial and tribulation - in times like these.

Why do we have such confidence? Because "It is finished." Christ's atoning work on the Cross is done, and we are saved.

On Easter morning, we do not gather to remember a martyr. We come together to worship the risen Son of God!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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